This is for Brett

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

If Eric Lindros could have had one other person celebrating with him in the Maple Leafs' dressing room yesterday, it would have been brother Brett.

While Eric's career has been equal parts injury, controversy and supremacy, Brett was denied both a chance at the Leafs and fulfillment of an NHL career by his own bout with concussions.

"We talked about that happening, coming here and playing together," Eric said. "That can't happen for him, but I hope to follow through on our dream."

The Leafs had Brett's name stitched on a blue sweater at the 1994 draft in Hartford. But as their pick came up at No. 10, the Quebec Nordiques, no doubt seeking revenge for Eric's snub of their team three years earlier, traded their No. 9 pick to the New York Islanders, who scooped Brett.

Brett played parts of two seasons before multiple head injuries forced his retirement at age 20.

But the Lindros clan won't likely be silent partners now that their life-long goal of Eric as a Leaf has been realized. His mother Bonnie was outspoken in his early years and Eric's father Carl also acts as his agent.

Other Leafs general managers who dealt with the family were wary of their influence, given the public spats with Philadelphia Flyers' boss Bob Clarke.

But not John Ferguson.

"His father was the consummate professional during the negotiations and I don't expect otherwise," the current GM said yesterday.

Ferguson said a series of voice mails a couple of weeks ago set the wheels in motion for a delicate series of talks that hinged on Eric getting medical clearance. An MRI was done on the shoulder he tore in 2004 and concussion specialists Karen Johnston and James Kelly were in communication with the Leafs.

"We're satisfied with our due diligence. He has passed," said Ferguson, who faced some of the same challenge structuring Jason Allison's contract around the latter's 36-month absence from the NHL.

"It's an exchange of risk and reward. It made sense for (Lindros and Allison), short-term deals that they can use a springboard, prove they're back and healthy and can contribute to a winning club."


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